A History of the County of Leicestershire: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1954.
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33. THE PRIORY OF HINCKLEY
The details of the foundation of Hinckley Priory are obscure. In the Matriculus of the Archdeaconry of Leicester it is stated that Hinckley church was given to the Benedictine Abbey of Lire by William filius Roberti Osberti; (fn. 1) the person meant is probably William Fitz Osbern, founder of the Abbey of Lire (Eure). (fn. 2) It seems, however, that Hinckley church was given to Lire not by William Fitz Osbern but by Robert le Bossu, Earl of Leicester. A charter granted by Henry II to Lire describes the church of Hinckley as having been given to the abbey by Robert, Earl of Leicester, and a charter of Robert ès Blanchemains, Earl of Leicester, describes Hinckley as the gift of his father, Robert le Bossu. (fn. 3) Property confirmed to Lire by Robert ès Blanchemains included tithes from the earl's soke of Hinckley, and a revenue of 2 marks from the township of Hinckley. (fn. 4) It is not known when a cell of Lire was established at Hinckley, but it must have been before 1209, when a Prior of Hinckley is mentioned. (fn. 5) About 1220 there were two monks only at Hinckley, (fn. 6) and the cell was probably always a small one. An agreement made in 1283 between the Abbot of Lire and the vicar of Hinckley stated that the mortuaries of the inhabitants of Hinckley and of the dependent chapelries of Dadlington and Wykin were to be the perquisite of the Prior of Hinckley, together with the Candlemas offerings from Hinckley and Dadlington. The agreement also mentions the priory's barn. (fn. 7)
As an alien priory Hinckley was repeatedly seized by the king during the later years of its existence, though while in the king's hands it was frequently granted at farm to its own prior. (fn. 8) In March 1399 Hinckley Priory was granted to the Carthusian house of Mountgrace, and licence was given to Lire to alienate the priory to Mountgrace. This grant, however, was vacated later in the same year, (fn. 9) and in the following May Hinckley was granted to Mountgrace for the duration of the war with France only. (fn. 10) In January 1400 Hinckley was handed back to its prior, (fn. 11) presumably because of the truce with France concluded soon afterwards. In 1409 revenues arising from the priory were granted to Queen Joan for life, (fn. 12) and in 1414, by a second grant, a slightly larger income from the priory was secured to the queen. (fn. 13) In 1415, though the queen was still alive, Hinckley Priory was finally granted to Mountgrace. (fn. 14) A pension continued to be paid to Queen Joan. (fn. 15) The possessions of Hinckley Priory seem to have consisted of little save tithes from the parish of Hinckley, with its dependent chapelries, and a little land in the vicinity. (fn. 16) Nothing is known of the internal life of this small cell.
Priors Of Hinckley
Richard, occurs between 1209 and 1211. (fn. 17)
Richard de Capella, admitted as administrator (fn. 18) 1224-5. (fn. 19) Resigned 1230-1. (fn. 20)
John de Capella, presented 1230-1, (fn. 21) resigned 1233-4. (fn. 22)
Richard de Paceio, presented 1233-4, (fn. 23) resigned 1236-7. (fn. 24)
Peter Lumbardus, presented 1236-7, (fn. 25) resigned 1244-5. (fn. 26)
William de Aquila, presented 1244-5, (fn. 27) resigned 1246-7. (fn. 28)
Hugh of Winchester, presented 1246-7. (fn. 29) Gilbert, died 1265. (fn. 30)
Adam de Trungey, presented 1265, (fn. 31) resigned 1268. (fn. 32)
Richard de Audreia, presented 1268, (fn. 33) resigned 1271. (fn. 34)
Nicholas Bynet, presented 1271. (fn. 35)
William de Arena, resigned 1289. (fn. 36)
Hervey de Alneto, presented 1289. (fn. 37)
Reyner de Sarieta, died 1310. (fn. 38)
Matthew de Puteio, presented 1310. (fn. 39)
Michael, resigned 1333. (fn. 40)
Nicholas de Gaynario, presented 1333. (fn. 41)
John Pepyn, occurs 1342 and December 1347. (fn. 42)
John Morelli, occurs 1348, (fn. 43) died 1367. (fn. 44)
John de Ponte, appointed 1367, (fn. 45) resigned 1368. (fn. 46)
Ralph de Gorin, (fn. 47) presented 1368, (fn. 48) died 1375. (fn. 49)
Michael Aufri, presented 1375, (fn. 50) occurs 1404. (fn. 51)
The seal (fn. 52) of Prior John Morelli is a small vesica, 1¼ by 1 in. Its subject is the coronation of the Virgin Mary. Below is a figure kneeling in prayer. The legend is:
S' PSS JOH'IS MORELL PRI' D' HINKI'
It is not proposed to describe all the Roman Catholic religious houses that have arisen in Leicestershire since the time of Henry VIII. (fn. 53), The following short history of Mount Saint Bernard Abbey, however, seems called for in view of the monastery's particular importance and of the especial interest attaching to it as the first Cistercian house for monks to be permanently established in England since the Dissolution. (fn. 54)